“RTT sparked a change like a small wave and hopefully this will have a ripple effect andgrow into one big giant wave of change in the teaching and learning process” (Sherin Kassamali -Senior Instructor at the Medical College, Tanzania, on the Rethinking Teaching Workshop)
The Network of Quality, Teaching and Learning (QTL_net) offered its sixth but first-ever online Rethinking Teaching Workshop (RTT) from October 19th to November 3rd, 2020. This workshop aimed to encourage participating faculty to examine and develop their thinking about course (re)design process. Twenty-four (24) faculty members and academic support staff from different disciplines attended the workshop over the course of eight (8) invigorating half-days with a blend of synchronous and asynchronous sessions. The online RTT workshop was a success as it provided an enriching experience for the faculty (participants) and the course facilitators to engage in meaningful discussions and reflections about student learning, course design process, importance of alignment among course components, significant learning, among others.
“RTT course was an eye-opener for me, thinking of instructional strategies and assessment strategies and aligning them with learning outcomes was a eureka moment for me. I kept thinking and reflecting on my teaching and learning methods to see where I could make changes and improve,” said Dr Sherin Kassamali, who attended this year’s workshop.
Through large groups and small group discussions, peer-interaction, readings, and one-on-one and continuous peer feedback, the RTT workshop provided faculty with a facilitated opportunity to deeply reflect and rethink their course design strategy so as to help their students achieve significant learning experiences. In particular the step-by-step approach has enabled faculty to view their courses from a more holistic perspective instead of considering the course elements (objectives, content, teaching methods, and assessments) as segregated pieces. “Each activity in the workshop prepares you more. We were not that much aware of our courses than we are now. It’s all because of RTT. Thank you for this awesome opportunity,” said Ms Shehla Khan - Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan. At the end of the workshop, all participants showcased their (re)designed courses through a 90-seconds pitch followed by constructive feedback from their peers and facilitators.
On future plans of implementing learnings from RTT in their classrooms, Ms Grace Nakate – Senior Instructor – School of Nursing and Midwifery–Uganda, shared “This course has given me insights in preparing students' learning activities that would enhance their learning. It has redirected [me] on how to think about how my students learn and how to develop and align learning outcomes assessment and instructional activities. Therefore, I will use the learnings from this workshop to (re)design this course and other courses to ensure that my students are engaged in meaningful learning". Although faculty members reflected and focused on one course during the workshop, RTT has helped them develop a better conceptual understanding of their course content and its alignment to other course elements as well as ignited the spark in faculty participants to continually reflect on how they determine course content and ensure meaningful and lasting learning experiences for their students now and in the future.